Lolly Lesher, a dairy farmer from Bernville, was recently elected as the first female chair of Pennsylvania Dairy Promotion Program. Lesher, who has served on the board for 20 years, says the biggest change over the past decades is the way farmers interact with consumers.
“Connecting with consumers is key,” says Lesher. “As farmers, we are passionate about the care we give to our cows and how we protect the land by recycling. We want the people who buy our products to know they come from a good place.”
Lesher operates Way-Har Farms with her husband, William and their children Olivia, Joshua, Jaylene and Laura. In addition to the 215-acre dairy farm and 300 cows, the Lesher family operates a country store and processes milk and ice cream.
According to Lesher, when Pennsylvania Dairy Promotion Program was established in 1984, delivering information to consumers was primarily through traditional media – print, television, and radio. “But today,” Lesher explains, “the ways of delivering information to consumers is vastly different. Now we have to also focus on digital technology like the internet, streaming networks, and social media – reaching them on their hand-held devices.”
“We are so fortunate to have a dedicated team of dairy farmers who are willing to guide and direct our local dairy promotion activities and advertising,” said John Chrisman, CEO of American Dairy Association North East which manages Pennsylvania Dairy Promotion Program. “We are truly committed to actively reaching consumers with forward-thinking, top-quality programming that helps grow sales and trust in dairy.”
“But it’s imperative that we continue to evolve in the ways we promote dairy in 2023,” says Lesher. “As dairy farmers, we like to see billboards and television advertising to promote milk, but we have to reach consumers where they are, on whatever device they are using most. In Pennsylvania, we have so many opportunities to share our story – not only what dairy offers nutritionally, but the important role the industry plays across the Commonwealth.”